The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Giardia

    8
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Robbed

    13
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Falls

    12
  • Beaten

    3
  • Groped

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Malaria

    5
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2